Attorney- at- law and Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.), Justice Hilary Ann Phillips, was sworn in as a judge of the Court of Appeal, in a ceremony at King’s House, Monday (July 20).
In his remarks before presenting the instrument of appointment to Justice Phillips, the Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen noted that the quality of justice in the country’s judicial institutions remains at an exceptionally high standard.
“We have been fortunate in Jamaica, since Independence, to have a Court of Appeal that has built an enviable record of fairness and courage in the discharge of its judicial responsibility,” he stated.
He congratulated Miss Phillips on her appointment and stated that the Court of Appeal was fortunate to have her.
“Miss Phillips comes to the Court of Appeal as an eminent lawyer and she has a career that has been characterised by a unique display of fair-mindedness, diplomacy and reverence for the law. You (Justice Phillips) are moving from a lucrative private practice into public service and, in doing so, you are joining the ranks of other family members who have served outstandingly well in the public service,” the Governor-General said.
Justice Phillips is the daughter of the late Sir Rowland Phillips, who was Chief Justice of Jamaica in the 1960s.
President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Mr. Justice Seymour Panton, also lauded her credentials.
“She has demonstrated, in her years at the bar, unswerving commitment to justice and to Jamaica. She has emerged from many years of vigorous practice of the law with her integrity very much intact as it was at the beginning. She’s a hard worker who will not wince,” he said.
Justice Panton also noted that Justice Phillips follows in the footsteps of distinguished judges who have come from the private bar, “and have left very good footprints.”
He said he had no doubt that she will play a sound part in maintaining and improving the strength of the Court of Appeal.
Chief Justice, Hon. Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla, expressed confidence that Justice Phillips was equal to the task at hand, and would uphold her judicial oath and the finest traditions of the judiciary.
Responding, Justice Phillips said she looked forward to the advancements of the justice reform agenda, and the transformations in the justice system.
“As I pursue this new aspect of my role as a jurist I promise, with the help of the good Lord, to ensure that I will be faithful to the oath that I took,” she said.
“It is my duty to act expeditiously, thoroughly and with clarity of thought, so that the juridical reasoning in my opinions is readily discernable; so that I will thereby assist in giving a timely delivery of a high standard of justice for all,” she assured.
Miss Phillips has been an attorney since 1974, and a Queen’s Counsel since 1998. She is a member of the Bar Association of Jamaica, and served as president from 2001 to 2004. She was extensively involved with civil litigations, and has demonstrated longstanding commitment to legal education, serving at the Norman Manley Law School as a tutor in civil procedure since 1994.
She has been a member of the General Legal Counsel since 1984, as well as a member of its disciplinary committee.
Justice Phillips has also received numerous awards. She leaves a successful legal practice as senior partner at Grant, Stuart, Phillips and Company.